You always imagine that You will be elated to be visited by a man You had strong feelings for. Any one of them. (There were several).
You have told Yourself again and again that the romps on leather couches, Buffalo Wild Wings, and way too long games of chess were not love.
You have told other men love doesn’t have to be a mutual agreement,
but should probably include some sort of tangible evidence of reciprocity.
You never told any one of them this.
Then it happens.
Out of the blue—I was married, divorced, and lost 3 teeth in a street fight before I realized, girl, it should be (should have been) You.
But wait, that part never comes first.
First there is the requisite how ya been (the ya replacing you to show
that he’s, you know, just trying to make convo).
Which is followed by the do you still live/work/eat at Such & Such a Place.
This to make sure the You of yesteryear has not changed too drastically for him to make his move.
Of course You have changed. You still wear the same haircut, but it’s a different color—the color You used to drool over but were scared he might not like. You didn’t marry, committed once–okay twice–and wear independence, make up, and heels well most of the time.
His re-entry in Your life makes You rethink these new-to-him fashion choices.
That is, after You get over the disappointment that You are not elated like You planned to be.
Oh sure You’re surprised by his impromptu visit. Through your LinkedIn account. Besides the two jobs in two years part, what else has he uncovered about You on the Encyclopedia Internet? The hair?
You panic and Google Yourself. All You find is a tiny version of your Facebook profile photo with an indication that you are, in fact, female; a few old addresses on people search sites; and the un-updated LinkedIn account. Does this make You boring?
You start explaining to Yourself as You imagine You will explain to him
that You’re not into putting yourself out there on the Internet. You nervously reapply lip gloss as though he will knock at Your door any minute now, fluff your hair in your hands. Then You pause. Should You Google him?
Something work-related takes Your attention and in the 6 minutes it takes to resolve the issue, You remember You don’t care about whatever there is to know about this (hopefully now at least) man. Any more than You’ve cared for the last two years.
(The first four were hard and spent very single).
You respond to his convo with a kiss-off that wouldn’t pass for kiss-off in anyone’s mind but Your own: What a surprise to hear from you! I’m well; in New Town. Hope all is well with you too.
You feel a simmering impatience that bears little resemblance to the impatience You expected You’d feel—the one borne of the question: when is he going to ask me to be his Boo?
Instead, Your question is: what does he really want? and is the product of a well-honed cynicism You generally reserve for the brand name toothpaste in Dollar Tree and the chunk of white meat on the joint of KFC wings.
Clearly his nerve is not what it used to be.
Your impulse is to ask him directly but Your tact will not let You. So You endure small talk for weeks. He wants to know if You’re married or in a relationship but instead asks if You have children. The answer, in fact, is hardly as telling as he apparently thinks it is.
Perhaps the 4 year old son he had when you were Buffalo Wild-winging it should be his clue. Except he sees that as a mistake of his youth. That kid is practically a teenager now and You wonder but don’t ask about him.
Apparently over morning coffee—the time stamp reads 6 a.m.—he’s decided to come out with it. Kind of.
I’d like to talk to You face to face.
You don’t ask how that will happen—he lives 3 states away. He’s figured out that he will be passing through the Town on business.
You wouldn’t agree to the meeting if You hadn’t grown so smug under the glamour of this quasi-pursuit.
You’re barely a quarter way through your biscotti before he’s out with it:
I was married, divorced, and lost 3 teeth in a street fight before I realized, girl, it should’ve been You.
You sigh to pretend to be thinking about how You will answer.
The answer has been waiting for the question over these weeks.
But wait. That was no question! He’s rewriting the script, but You stick to Yours:
You say, “Oh.”
He gives You his puppy dog look, the one that should make You swoon and melt. It doesn’t.
You’re so convinced that there will be more attention hurled Your way, You nod the and what else nod.
He pauses. More deviation from the script? Sigh. You’re so damned sure of Yourself, humph, You let the silence hang between the two of you forcing his hand.
Wraps his coffee mug. Ahh, that was once my waist, You think and convince Yourself he’s thinking that too.
But the way his body straightens says otherwise, and You’re not sure what the otherwise is. Well, I said it he offers, so You think about it. I’m gonna hit the road now.
Now it’s Your turn, but You had not prepared anything beyond your “Oh.”
He’s reaching for his jacket. You’re reaching for Your biscotti. Something to replace Your words, the ones that won’t come.